As bad as the Pittsburgh Steelers defense played Sunday at M&T Stadium, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger needs to be saddled with most of the blame for the team losing 20-17 to the Baltimore Ravens. It’s really that simple.
Roethlisberger delivered a clunker Sunday similar to the one he had back in the Week 8 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals which just so happened to be his first game back from a left MCL injury that kept him sidelined four weeks. While Roethlisberger only failed to complete 10 of his 34 pass attempts Sunday against the Ravens, only 6 of those completed balls flew more than 5 yards in the air past the line of scrimmage.
The Steelers offense thrives on explosive plays through the air and Roethlisberger failed to deliver them Sunday with his deep passes. In fact, he was 2 of 12 with 2 interceptions and 2 pass interference calls on balls thrown more than 15 yards down the field during the game. While Roethlisberger did complete 4 of his 7 third down pass attempts on Sunday, only one of those catches resulted in a first down. Additionally, his two interceptions were a result of him forcing passes and that number could’ve very easily been 4.
If you are mad at the Steelers for running the football early on in the game, you probably shouldn’t be as the offense averaged 6.7 yards per carry on 14 first half runs. They ran that much because the Ravens playing two deep safeties.
When you boil this game down, the Steelers offense had a chance to win it in the fourth quarter as they took possession of the football with 2:55 left in the game at their own 20-yard-line. Sure, they only had one timeout to use at that point, but they shouldn’t have needed it with that much time left.
Roethlisberger’s two interceptions resulted directly in 10 points for the Ravens, who only scored 7 points in the second half. Those 7 points came after Roethlisberger’s second interception and that score wound up being the dagger.
The Steelers quarterback was selected to his fourth Pro Bowl earlier in the week, but on Sunday against the Ravens, Roethlisberger certainly didn’t look worthy of that selection in a loss that could very result in the Steelers missing the playoffs. He needed to be better than he was.